While there is an ongoing debate whether 2020 is a new decade already or not, one thing cannot be argued any longer: the automation of online event registration forms. Seriously, there’s no good reason to continue doing it any other old way.
Considering that 91% of the US population do their shopping online, and this trend can be seen all over the world, people will most likely “buy” your event tickets online as well. Physical event registration booths are such a thing of the past that instead of attracting people, it basically repels attendees nowadays.
If you’re looking over this year’s calendar, you can still plan online events in 2020, like webinars, AMAs (Ask Me Anything), and livestreams. You should keep on reading this article to learn the best event registrations tools available right now. We’ll show you the ropes so you can replicate best practices, dodge common mistakes and most importantly, get results!
Improve Your Event Registration Process
Step up your game. Whether this may be your first time ever setting up an event or that you are an experienced event planner, there’s always room for improvement. There are always new tools available that will do more for less, or even at zero cost.
Regardless if your event is formal or informal, free or paid, the main objective of hosting an event is getting attendance. And it’s relatively easy to promote your event and get people interested in it, especially with social media. But if the event registration process is confusing, cumbersome or unreliable, your headcount will be frustratingly low.
What is an Event Registration?
Event registration is a process where people sign up for or request their attendance at an event. It is usually established through an online form in which is collected basic information from the attendee (name, contact info, business title, etc.). Then, a confirmation message is exchanged, securing the requested spot in the event.
In the past (really, in the past, ok?), it used to be done either face-to-face in a specific physical place or via email or phone call. That meant more work for everyone. Those interested had to then proceed to a location and the event planner or host had to sort through papers and emails.
A shift happened in the past few years and more and more processes are conveniently done online. And making it online enables even more improvement and enhancements. You can now build your own registration form from scratch or from a template; increase productivity by automating data collecting and messaging; integrate it with Google and much more.
Debunking the Event Registration Myth
There is a common misconception that event registration processes are too complex and you’d be better off hiring a professional to handle it. Even worse, that registration setup is costly. Psst, hear me out: it’s a lot simpler and free!
Besides, you might want to focus your energy on the actual content and details of the event, such as venue, presentation, props and materials, marketing collaterals, catering, etc. But there’s no reason to delegate the task of setting up the online registration form when it can be easily done using freely available tools, like publishing platforms and form builder softwares.
You don’t even need to understand web design coding and programming if you choose to set up your registration form with a form builder app. A few clicks on the event registration tool will generate a form suitable to your needs, reliable, highly responsive, and with a great layout too!
Why do you need an event registration form?
An event registration form is the backbone of the actual event. The intelligence that can be extracted from the web form will guide you to tailor your event to better suit your audience, as well as your business objectives. The venue, day and time, content, equipment, tools, and so on, all will be better planned with the information collected from the registration form.
Keep in mind that an event registration form is already a way for potential customers to get to know you, so you might want to impress them by providing an appealing and clear form. The form can influence people to want to attend your event or not. Even further, it will influence how they think of you and of your business in general, so first impressions of a registration form are very important!
Not to mention that the information gathered from an event registration form can also be further used to improve a product or a service, generate sales leads, direct advertising efforts and much more. Knowledge is power!
How to Boost Your Form Within an Event Registration Page
Event registration pages or websites should be very objective and informative. You want to engage curiosity and convert visitors into actual attendees. You can’t leave people guessing what your event is about nor give them extra work by having too much information to grasp. Most importantly, the registration page should work as a frame to highlight the actual star: the registration form.
The whole design of the page should lead people to associate it with your event theme or topic. Carefully think of all elements so your page inspires people to know more about your event and be excited to attend it. Avoid competing or distracting elements so the focus remains on filling out the event registration form, which should also follow web form design best practices.
When it comes to the actual copy of the event registration page, only essential text should be included. Consider the key information below as a MUST content for any kind of event:
▶ Name or title of the event:
Be creative and unique, people will often be more likely to spread the word if the event has a catchy name.
▶ Topic or description:
Keep it short and straightforward, but don’t assume everybody will understand technical terms or niche lingo. Use general terms in order to attract new attendees.
▶ Date and time:
Make it clear and bold – check it twice before publishing it.
Make sure to include full address and a Google map (integration is easy to add from event registration tools).
Provide the name and a brief bio of who will present, host or make a guest appearance.
Whether you’re hosting a paid or free entry event, make it very clear.
Combining attractive and appropriate visuals with key information while making your event registration form stand out is the right formula to convert the maximum number of visitors possible. Make sure that your Call-To-Action (CTA) button is well positioned within the page, contrasting to everything else.
How to Create a Good Event Registration Form
Now that you know what and why you need an event registration form, you need to decide what information you want to know from your attendees. Keeping in mind your business objective and what outcomes you expect from your event should guide you to outline your online event registration form.
Besides contact information, what else is critical to the success of your event? Furthermore, think of an event registration form as a timely opportunity to get your target audience data by squeezing in business-related questions as well.
Outline your registration form
Even before you start using the event registration tool to build your form, you should first examine what information is needed to plan your event. Here are some key crucial questions to consider when outlining an effective event registration form:
- Will only individual registration be allowed or group registration as well?
- Is demographic information useful to your business? (i.e. age, gender, marital status, number of children, occupation, education level, income, etc.)
- Will your event be charged? Consider listing payment options
- If you’ll host a physical event, will there be a live-stream option for attendees?
- Will attendees need any accessibility accommodation? (i.e. wheelchair ramp, sign language interpreter, etc.)
- Will there be a catering service? Then you might want to ask if attendees have any food allergies and intolerances.
- Will a special event shirt or giveaways be provided? Then consider having the size options field to be marked.
These basic questions above should give you an overview of who will be attending your event. Therefore, including appropriate fields in your registration form in order to obtain these answers will allow you to plan a safe and stress-free event, besides gathering the obvious headcount number.
Event Registration Form as Marketing Data
Now that you’ve got the ground covered out of the form, take it up a notch and think of how you can use the event registration form as an opportunity to collect valuable marketing data. Since existing or potential customers will be already filling out an event registration form, you might as well take this moment to learn more about your audience.
The idea is to avoid turning an event registration form into a survey, however, subtle key questions related to the event subject should not deviate from the initial purpose. And by using a form builder for your website, the final layout will look seamless.
Beyond getting quantitative data of your attendees out of basic questions – that should guide your actual event set up, like venue size, number of chairs and handouts, for example – using the event registration form is a smart way to collect qualitative data. Let that idea marinate while we cover the basic event registration form set up next!
How to Choose the Best Event Registration Tool
The event registration form is a decisive factor, so choose wisely how will you build yours. You want to attract and convince those visitors that viewed your event website just to get more information to ultimately want to be part of it.
The event registration form must be effective and reliable for you, when it comes to collect and organize data. But most importantly, it must be attractive, intuitive and secure enough for attendees when it comes to filling out personal information.
What is an event registration tool?
An event registration tool (which can also be described as a software, a platform, an app, or a plugin) is a web-based solution that optimizes the event registration workflow automation with custom-built functionalities for your needs. The event registration tool should help you build a versatile, beautiful and responsive form without the need to manually build or code one.
If your website is hosted on WordPress, check our list of the best event registration WordPress plugins this year.
There is a wide range of registration form tools available online, from plain and simple to sophisticated and expensive. But don’t choose one based simply on how large your event will be. Even if you’re hosting a pottery class for ten people, you want those ten people reassured that they made the right choice by signing up for your event.
Essential Guide to Choose the Best Event Registration Tool
It may be overwhelming or even misleading when it comes to filter through so many options in order to choose the best event registration software. Therefore, to help your decision-making, we bring you below the essential guide to keep in mind and to zero in the best tool for your next project.
If you have to guess or watch an hour-long tutorial to learn how to work around a registration platform, then forget it. Technology is only helpful when it’s user-friendly and intuitive. You’ve got to be able to come up with a clear fully functional registration form within a few minutes.
Besides being intuitive, an event registration tool must offer a variety of options on how to quickly build a form. Look out for easily adapted templates which all you need to do is to edit it with your own info, or an option to start off with your own PDF file.
Customization and personalization
When people look at your form, they must feel like it is exclusive to your event. The event registration tool must allow you to customize it according to the needs of your event (i.e. form field to select from different event sessions) and to personalize it in order to make it unique (i.e. add your logo, images and brand colors).
Be sure to check if the event registration tool has integrated capabilities with other platforms. The features and functionalities must communicate seamlessly with your event website, to payment softwares, to email marketing services, to Google Maps and Google Calendar, and so on.
More than half of all internet traffic worldwide is generated through mobile phones. Your event registration form must look good and be easy to fill out on a phone. Make sure your event registration tool automatically creates an online responsive form for desktop, tablet, and mobile devices.
The whole point of setting up your event registration online is not to do things manually or upon command. The tool must be fully automated when it comes to keep track of submissions, abandoned forms, confirmation messages, notifications and other details of the whole process.
Top 10 Tips to Maximize Your Event Registration Form
We went over at the beginning of this article why you need to set up an event registration form and we’ve covered the best form builder tool. There are so many components of putting an event together, that automating whatever can be automated just makes sense, right? It will save you money and precious time. It will make your event look professional, and at the very least, you’ll know how many attendees to expect in order to plan accordingly.
Hopefully, by now, you also understand that setting up an event registration form is easy, intuitive and its benefit-cost ratio very surprising. No more hassle of perusing emails from guests in order to gather information or getting only incomplete data from attendees. No more need to count or ask an event organizer for the headcount status, since you can follow up registration submissions as they come. Using an event registration form tool is like delegating the task to a very diligent worker.
But in case you’re not amused by the basic benefits of using automation with a form builder yet, let me present you further arguments to get you 100% on board.
1 – Reach more people
The rise of the digital event registration process is irreversible. Even small weddings ceremony organizers collect their RVSP through an automated form, for instance. It is undeniable that you can reach more people, and a broader audience too, by simply providing information online and making registration easily accessible.
2 – Increase shareability
The best publicity is when it is provided by your own customers, so encourage organic buzz. When setting up an event registration form, allow integrated social media sharing. People will most likely talk about your event and spread the word if all that they’ve got do is to click on a button. Go viral!
3 – Generate Interest
You can promote your event as hard as you want or as how much your budget allows it, but once you get people to access your event registration website, you want them to be amazed and compelled to act. You generate interest by making your event page and registration form interesting. Be smart and build a clear and attractive form to convert viewers into registrants, entice them to be part of it.
4 – Influence decision
Providing an online event registration process will allow people to look at it and decide to fill out the registration form whenever and wherever it is most convenient to them. According to a study from Venture Harbour, multi-step forms (also known as conversational forms) can lead to 300% more conversions.
5 – Gain trust
People are more inclined to trust and therefore, sign up to an online form if it presents five elements, according to the same Venture Harbour study: engaging, ease, peace of mind, ability, motivation. You can easily channel all those elements using an event registration form tool.
6 – Increase productivity
Once you give it a try and set up your first event registration form and see for yourself how practical and effective a form builder is, you’ll never host an event without it again. If you’re using the MightyForms builder, all of your work is saved, you can simply copy or edit the registration form for your upcoming event, thus increasing productivity without having to start from scratch.
7 – Reassure security
You might really catch your audience’s interest in your event, but you have to make them feel comfortable sharing personal information, especially if you need credit card info for payment option. Make sure that the event registration tool you choose to work with has data protection with end-to-end SSL encryption. Here’s a quick guide to create a secure web form.
8 – Measure performance
Don’t let your event success to chance and just hope for the best organic search. Choose an event registration tool that has direct integration with Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics so you can manage your performance and improve your SEO.
9 – Recover Incomplete Forms
People may abandon a form before clicking on the submit button for many reasons. If your event registration tool offers a data capture feature, you may track incomplete forms so you can follow up with the registrant and convert it into full submission. You may be surprised that most didn’t even realize it wasn’t completed and submitted, so an automatic reminder might do the trick.
10 – Improve your ROI
Events might be costly, so it’s nice to know it was worthy in terms of investment. Using an event registration tool helps you track the whole process in order to analyze your Return of Investment (ROI). In basic terms, you can track the whole process from form submissions to attendance, to lead generation, coming to a full circle as the sales closing.
Do’s and Don’ts of an Event Registration Form
At this point, you’ve concluded that using an event registration form tool is a failproof process to automate registrations submissions from your attendees. We can certainly learn from each process and improve on the next one though.
Key Mistakes in Event Registration
There’s no absolute formula for getting it right since each event has its own challenges, but there are things to always consider doing it and things to avoid. See below some event registration wisdom and final considerations.
Don’t play hide and seek with your info
An event registration website is NOT an advertising page. This is not the place to promote everything about your product or service, nor show heavy banners competing for your visitor’s attention. Focus on being informative and answer the essential What, When, Who, Where questions, avoiding too many clicks and searching.
Show your form upfront
The whole purpose of setting up an event registration page is to get people to sign up. Don’t be shy nor think that having your registration form upfront and center is too aggressive. Your Call-to-Action (CTA) – in this case, the “submit” button – must be clearly evident and handy.
Avoid too many plugins
You may have heard that having too many plugins/tools and functionality softwares may slow down your website. Therefore, instead of downloading different tools for each feature and functionality needed (one for a calendar, another one for Google Maps, for example), keep it minimal and optimize your project with only one plugin that does it all. We strongly recommend MightyForms Form Builder as your event registration form tool since it will cover all your bases and much more.
Keep it short and sweet
We’ve talked earlier about leveraging your event registration form as a marketing data tool but do not turn it into an inquisitive survey. Select five to seven form fields to be required (you can configure that option using MightyForms tool) and maybe include one or two additional and optional fields to collect further data. Believe me, you’ll know a lot about your audience with just key essential answers.
Field labels must be clear
People might interpret prompt questions differently, so be as clear as you can be when it comes to labeling your fields. Consider labeling the name field as “Full Name” instead of just “Name”, for example. If you need business hierarchy titles for decision-making data, for instance, consider providing a drop-down menu with options like “Owner, President, Director, Manager, Executive, Associate”, so you can limit responses within desired answers.
Increase Event Registration Conversions
Set a deadline
The timing to publish your event registration form is key to a successful turnaround. If you schedule it too soon, people might forget it. Although, if you’re trying to get people to RSVP to a location wedding in Italy, for instance, you must provide the registration form early on so guests can plan their trip. Also, if you set a deadline or display a countdown clock for form submissions, it will instill a sense of urgency on registrants, working as a little nudge on people to sign up already.
Select a winner template
Building your form from a template is not only a time-saver, but it can also be a fail-proof step. Why not copy and edit from a template that has proven its effectiveness or that it has already been tailored to your type of event or industry category?
Reduce abandonment rate
It is almost more frustrating to have a high form abandonment rate than actual low submissions because you’ve worked so hard, you’ve come so far and yet, you’ll always think of the ones that got away. People will start and abandon a form if it is too long; or too slow to continue; if a phone number is required; if CAPTCHA is turned on; if costs aren’t clear; if they don’t trust filling out card information, to only mention a few reasons. Transparency is key.
Offer a treat
Considering offering some sort of treat to incentivize people to finish their forms and register to your event. You might lure people into submitting your event registration form by offering a promotional discount; a giveaway; a raffle ticket to be drawn at the end of the event; among some marketing strategies to trigger more registrations.
Improve your CTA
Semantics and psychology play an interesting part in our decision-making, so use them to your favor. According to a study from Quicksprout, the best performing Call-To-Action (CTA) button text includes “Click here”, “Go”, “Download” and “Register”, whereas 3% more people will abandon a form if you use the word “Submit”.
Finally, we hope that you focus on the fun and profitable part of hosting events by trusting the registration process to an online event registration form tool for your next event in 2020.
Publishing your event registration website and providing a responsive registration form will ensure its reliability, using a high-security platform, with ample technical support and back up. Just let your event registration page shine and reap the benefits of automated responsive forms!